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“Slow the Testing”: Highlights from Trump’s Rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma

On June 20th, President Donald Trump set out to make a comeback. His rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, originally scheduled for June 19th (but moved due to Juneteenth) was projected to attract millions. As the event neared, that quickly turned out not to be the case. The 19,000-seat indoor rally wasn’t even half full and the 40,000-person outdoor venue was completely torn down just briefly before the President arrived. From Tiktok teens and Kpop stans ruining turnout to Trump’s vow to “slow the testing,” here are the biggest highlights from Trump’s first rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 

Tiktok teens and K-Pop stans ruined Trump’s high expectations

Weeks ago, when Donald Trump first decided to release his rally announcement, he and his staff posted links to reserve two free tickets with nothing but a phone number and an email. However, this strategy took a turn as a low lying Tiktok operation created a trend where teens would reserve tickets to attend Trump’s rally and then not show up. Many danced to the Macarena in front of reservation emails. This operation to inflate rally numbers spread even further through the K-Pop community, as many large accounts encouraged tens of thousands of K-Pop stans to reserve tickets and not attend. 

Trump received a hit as he landed for his rally in Tulsa. After claiming for weeks that he had never had a rally with empty seats, the president came into a barely jammed 6,200-person rally. The entire second tier of the venue was left empty. 

Trump’s disappointment was clear from the way he entered and exited the arena. By the time, he got back to the White House, his tie was off, his hair was frazzled and his posture was slumped over. It has since been made into a viral meme, spreading once again through Tiktok. 

The president tried to brush these low numbers off, blaming the low turnout on the media’s willingness to cover the deadly coronavirus and on the protests across America resulting from the death of George Floyd. 

However, K-Pop stans and Tiktok teens feel as though they’ve won.

Trump Continues to call COVID-19 the “Kung Flu” and the “Chinese Virus” 

“COVID-19. That name gets further and further away from China, as opposed to calling it, ‘the Chinese Virus,'” the President remarked. 

Throughout his rally, Trump continued to refer to the life-threatening disease by both the “Chinese Virus” and “Kung Flu.” Though Trump continues to maintain that the reasoning behind referring to COVID-19 as the Chinese virus is simply to remind people to blame China, those who take the biggest consequences from this brutal renaming are Asian Americans across the country. Many Chinese-Americans across the United States have felt the term affect business in once-popular Chinese restaurants. Many others agree that calling COVID-19 the “Chinese Virus” only makes the virus seem more foreign, simultaneously making Asian Americans also seem foreign. Yale University professor Grace Kao remarks that these terms perpetuate the myth that Asian Americans are somehow “physical embodiments of the virus.” 

If you’re curious for more Asian American perspectives, check out this interview with some of our Asian American writers here at Affinity. 

We Must Slow Testing Down, It is a “Double-Edged Sword”

Trump seized upon every opportunity to discuss his accomplishments in handling the coronavirus. The President initially started the section off by blaming the media for not covering his accomplishments in testing, before turning to the idea that testing is a “double-edged sword.” 

His logic? Trump remarked multiple times that testing backstabbed him because if he tested more people, more people would test positive for the coronavirus. 

His solution? Trump told crowds of cheering supporters that he should slow the testing in order to keep numbers down to a minimum. Trump’s solution is one that presidential hopeful Joe Biden is now circulating through his ads. A new ad, airing just this week, now features this voiceover: “Instead of working to slow the spread, Donald Trump says he slowed down the testing. Now, over 120,000 dead.” 

The president’s remarks are not an excuse to not get tested. If you suspect that you, a family member or a quarantine partner might have come into contact with COVID-19, get tested immediately. Linked is a CDC Guide on how to determine when to test, and a list of testing locations near you

Trump Staffers Test Positive for COVID-19 

Just hours before the rally, six of Trump’s staff members tested positive for the coronavirus. However, the president was angry because he hoped that the media would focus on covering his large rally crowd numbers instead. Tulsa, Oklahoma, had recently also just seen one of its highest days in new COVID-19 cases

Just hours after the rally, another two members of Trump’s staff tested positive for the coronavirus. Masks, face shields, gloves and other protective materials were all but sparse during the rally, meaning that it could be a hotspot for a new set of COVID-19 cases. 

However, if attendees do test positive for the virus, they are not allowed to sue the Trump campaign, waiving their rights to press charges as an entry ticket into the rally. 

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

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